Retail Robots to Straighten Shelves Coming Soon to a Grocery or Convenience Store Near You

The other day, I was talking to a checkout lady from Albertson’s grocery store, and she’d been with the company 24 years, and she was still worried she might be laid off. Since she was a checker, she noted; “those self-checkout machines over there, pretty soon there will be fewer lines with human checkers, and more lines with only kiosks.”

Indeed, she’s right about that, and eventually each item will have an RFID tag, and you just wheel your grocery cart through a scanning machine, and it will come up with a total, and scan your iPad or Android for payment. Of course, this is not the only technology coming along which will revolutionize the grocery store retail scene. In fact, I’d like to talk about this for a moment with you if I might.

There was an interesting piece in Accelerating Intelligence on June 20, 2012 titled; “Getting ‘hallucinating’ robots to arrange your room for you,” by Amara D. Angelica which featured a YouTube Video also of a robot straightening up a room, it had never been to before. It recognized dishes, empty containers, and restocked a refrigerator – a very good case study in the future of domestic artificially intelligent enabled domestic robotics. It took a disorganized room and put everything back in its place using its algorithmic strategies.

Last month, I was at a Trader Joes watching the staff turn all the products on the shelves “facing” the front, and tidying everything up into perfect rows. Hey, the robot in that article and video could do that, and it can do it better than a human, faster, and never get tired, call in sick, or go on strike – no benefits, raises, or problems. Think about it, you are sitting in Starbucks, and a robot is busy sweeping floor, wiping the window ledges, cleaning off the tabletops, and putting the chairs back in perfect order. They might also clean the floor and mop up the occasional Venti Frappachino spill.

Every one of the items that Starbucks sells on display will be in perfect rows, all the American made coffee cups, and all the pastries. Everything will look perfect all the time, because that’s the robot’s job and it will never stop. It will be going to the lobby every 5 minutes cleaning the place perfect. Yes, that’s the future, and I suppose it will be taking someone’s job, but probably in the future it will do a better job than a human could even if they wanted too, or were not busy text messaging their friends instead of working – oh, humans would never do such a thing you say – yah right! Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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